Canciamilla isn’t in Tauscher’s district – so what?

As I noted in my article today, there’ll be no shortage of Democrats gauging whether to make a special-election bid for the 10th Congressional District seat that Rep. Ellen Tauscher, D-Alamo, is about to leave vacant if confirmed to a high-ranking State Department post.

Among the possible candidates with whom I spoke yesterday was former Assemblyman Joe Canciamilla of Pittsburg, who already has been exploring a 2010 run for state Attorney General (another race already packed with Democrats).

“I don’t know that commuting to Washington, D.C. as a freshman in a Congress where it takes 20 years to build seniority in a meaningful way is something I’m sure I want to do,” he told me, but the district’s diversity and the call of public service remain alluring. “I’m not going to foreclose anything at this point.”

I didn’t have room for it in the story, but it’s worth noting that Canciamilla actually lives in the 7th Congressional District, represented by George Miller, D-Martinez. Fact is, a candidate need not live in the Congressional district in which he/she runs; the U.S. Constitution’s Article I, Section 2 requires only that he/she “when elected, be an inhabitant of that state in which he shall be chosen.”

In many cases, a candidate from outside the district in which he/she runs often faces accusations of being a carpetbagger. Here, the 11th Assembly District that Canciamilla represented from 2000 until he was term-limited out in 2006, as well as the district he represented as a county supervisor for four years before that, both overlap with Tauscher’s district, so he could make a strong claim to knowing the local issues and so forth. I’d think the more significant obstacle would be that he’s been out of public office, and so out of the public eye, for more than two years, while other potential 10th District candidates such as Assemblyman Tom Torlakson, D-Antioch; state Sen. Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord; and Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan, D-Alamo, all have the bully pulpit of current elected office.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • Freak of the Far Right

    Joe C the republicans favorite democrat. Now he will have a chance to run for the 7th districtSenatorial seat.

  • 4Antioch

    Joe would make a great Congressman who has demonstrated time and again that he is not beholden to any special interests. He’s more in line with Tauscher with that independent streak!